Julio Borbon Rumors
Here's your collection of minor moves from Tuesday...
- The Angels released right-hander Mike Ekstrom from Triple-A Salt Lake, according to the Pacific Coast League's transactions page. Ekstrom, who turns 30 at the end of this month, posted a 5.19 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 26 innings for the Bees this season. He's appeared in the Majors for at least one inning each year from 2008-12, but he has just a 5.61 ERA in 61 career big league innings.
- Julio Borbon has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Iowa, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link). The Cubs designated the speedster for assignment last Friday after he hit just .202/.284/.279 in 117 plate appearances after being claimed off waivers from the Rangers earlier this year.
- Six players are currently in DFA limbo: Laynce Nix of the Phillies, Michael Schwimer of the Blue Jays, Brent Lillibridge of the Yankees, Adam Rosales of the Rangers, Josh Sullivan of the Rockies and Yusmeiro Petit of the Giants.
Borbon was picked up off of waivers from the Rangers back in April. After 117 plate appearances this year, his triple-slash line stands at .192/.276/.260. He has also stolen seven bases. The 27-year-old Borbon was a trade candidate back when he was designated by Texas, and ultimately was claimed by the team that then had the second-highest waiver priority. After his poor run in Chicago, however, it seems unlikely that he'll draw as much interest this time around.
Daniel Nava, whose three-run homer helped the Red Sox to a dramatic victory Saturday, has come a long way since repeatedly considering retirement, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes. Nava played independent-league baseball in 2007 and considered quitting before catching on with the Red Sox in 2008. Then, after playing with the Red Sox in 2010 and spending 2011 with Triple-A Pawtucket, he didn't get invited to Major League spring training in 2012, and he considered quitting again. He ended up staying, and spent much of the 2012 season with the big-league team, hitting .243/.352/.390. This year, he's an important part of the Red Sox outfield. Here are more notes from around the majors.
- Outfielder Julio Borbon had a "whirlwind day" after being claimed off waivers on Friday, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat writes. After learning he'd been claimed by the Cubs, Borbon got to Milwaukee's Miller Park in the eighth inning Friday night. Manager Dale Sveum, who had been ejected, told Borbon to suit up. Borbon did, and entered the game as a pinch-runner, then ended the game when he got thrown out trying to steal. Borbon expressed excitement at being claimed by the Cubs because he's a fan of President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein. "My fiance, she’s from Boston, and she knew him, and she was the first one to tell me he had done great things for the city of Boston," said Borbon. "From his background and his resume, he’s on his way to doing the same thing here."
- Jason Giambi of the Indians looks forward to becoming a coach one day, but for now he's enjoying the end of his big-league career, Gene Duffey of MLB.com writes. Giambi interviewed for the Rockies' manager position last year (the job went to Walt Weiss) and has declined coaching jobs with other teams while he continues to play. "I want to enjoy this while I can," says Giambi. "Unfortunately, this game will let you know when it's time to walk away. Sometimes it's not your choice. I've been lucky enough and blessed enough to be in my 19th Major League season. And I'm going to enjoy every minute."
Borbon was designated for assignment by the Rangers last week and placed on waivers Wednesday after the Rangers were unable to work out a trade. The 27-year-old is a career .283/.324/.358 hitter with 40 stolen bases in 53 career attempts.
The outfielder drew interest from a few clubs including the Twins, who were said to be kicking the tires on him. Ultimately, however, the Rangers were unable to find a worthwhile deal for him. Texas ideally wanted a "pitcher with options" in exchange for Borbon.
Because waiver priority is determined by the previous year's standings for the first month of the season, the Cubs had second priority to claim Borbon. He did not pass through the entire American League unclaimed.
Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia is finally set to make his minor-league debut, Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports. The Orioles have assigned Urrutia to Double-A Bowie, and he will join the Baysox on Friday. Urrutia signed with the Orioles last year for $779K, but he was forced to stay in Haiti for several months after that with visa problems. Here are more notes from the Orioles.
- Kubatko also explains why the Orioles didn't trade for outfielder Julio Borbon, who had been designated for assignment by the Rangers. The Orioles were rumored to be interested in Borbon. Kubatko says the Orioles didn't want to deal the minor-leaguers the Rangers wanted, and didn't see Borbon as an upgrade over Chris Dickerson. Borbon ultimately ended up on waivers.
- Conor Jackson has not yet turned in his retirement paperwork, Kubatko notes (on Twitter). News of Jackson's retirement emerged last weekend, but for now, the Orioles are keeping him on the restricted list in Triple-A Norfolk. If Jackson decides to return to the game while he's still on the restricted list, he'll return as a member of the Orioles organization. Jackson hit .200/.333/.240 in nine games for Norfolk this year.
1:01pm: Borbon will be placed on outright waivers after the Rangers were unable to work out a trade, Heyman tweets. That means the Astros will have the first crack at him should they wish to make a claim.
12:53pm: A trade now looks unlikely, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan, who notes that teams like Borbon but don't have fits on their roster. Borbon looks to be headed for waivers.
12:50pm: The Orioles won't pull the trigger on a Borbon trade, tweets Heyman.
After designating Borbon for assignment eight days ago, general manager Jon Daniels has until 2pm ET to pull off a trade for Borbon. Otherwise Borbon will be subjected to waivers, and teams (presumably the Astros) will have a shot at acquiring him for nothing.
The 27-year-old Borbon is a career .283/.324/.358 hitter whose value comes primarily from a strong glove and plus speed. He's stolen 40 bases in 53 career attempts (75 percent), and both The Fielding Bible and UZR suggest that he's saved seven to eight runs in 1,365 career innings in center field.
It's also been reported that the Twins have kicked the tires on Borbon but were more interested in a waiver claim than a trade. It's possible that the prolonged struggles of Aaron Hicks and an injury to Darin Mastroianni have altered that thinking, though that's just me speculating.
The Rangers are said to be seeking a pitcher with options remaining in any deal for Borbon.
Here are a few notes from around baseball:
- The Orioles have had ongoing discussions with the Rangers about trading for outfielder Julio Borbon, writes MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli. Borbon will need to be placed on outright waivers by 2pm ET tomorrow if he is not traded beforehand, but the Rangers appear confident that they will strike a deal. While Texas is interested in a major league capable pitcher with options, the Orioles are reluctant to give up arms and are waiting for the asking price to drop. For the O's, Borbon would bring depth, speed, and another lefty bat in the outfield mix.
- The Mets and Astros have also expressed interest in Borbon, Ghiroli further reports. Both clubs entered the season with among the least-entrenched outfield mixes in baseball.
- Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein spoke about what the club's Wrigley Field renovation deal could mean for the quality of the squad that takes the field at the friendly confines, as reported by Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. According to Epstein, the club "need[s] revenues to increase in order for us to execute our baseball plan. We expect them to [increase]." Epstein added: "We are not where we want to be right now from a revenue standpoint and therefore we are not where we want to be from a payroll standpoint." While Epstein said that revenue was not the sole "determining factor in our success," he needs it to allow the front office to supplement homegrown talent with "some aggression in free agency."
- For his part, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts says that, "if [the deal] is approved, we will win the World Series." As Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times explains, however, there is some cause for skepticism. The Cubs' ownership has continued to push out its promised timeline for a championship. And with the Cubs topping Forbes' list of most profitable franchises in 2012, Wittenmyer questions Ricketts' continued unwillingness to be more specific about when and to what extent the budget will expand.
- Most big league second baggers do not start out at the position. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that several teams are considering moving big-name young players to second base, with major potential hot stove implications. ESPN's Keith Law (on ESPN Insider) broke down the possible in-season transition of the Blue Jays' Brett Lawrie, as well as two prospects who are keystone candidates: Anthony Rendon of the Nationals and Jurickson Profar of the Rangers. A Lawrie move would be motivated by gaps elsewhere in the Jays' lineup, with the primary impact being on Toronto's affirmative trade plans. The two highly-rated prospects, on the other hand, find themselves blocked at their natural positions. For Rendon and Profar, then, a move to second could be the only viable alternative to an eventual trade.
- With Rendon presumably blocked by Ryan Zimmerman at his natural third base, and with a Zimmerman move to first blocked for at least two seasons by Adam LaRoche, a switch to second seems attractive at first blush. Rendon is known as a very good fielder, and may soon be knocking on the door after starting the year destroying Double-A pitching. But even putting aside the presence of young incumbent Danny Espinosa, Law says that Rendon's lack of agility and suspect ankles should preclude such a move. Unless some drastic change intervenes -- Zimmerman's throwing woes worsen; the NL adopts the DH; unforeseen injury -- the Nationals could be forced to consider dealing Rendon after this season.
- On the other hand, Law explains that the shortstop Profar, blocked by Elvis Andrus, can certainly handle second. But he would be less valuable there, and the Rangers would need to convince Ian Kinsler to become a first baseman or outfielder. Law goes so far as to suggest that Profar has the capacity to be shifted to centerfield, despite having never seen time in the outfield as a professional. Of course, Profar has already established his value at a premium defensive position. Such a move would not only be risky, but would keep Profar out of the big league lineup for longer while he adapted to a totally new position. Law says that bringing Profar up to man second would add value to the Rangers right now. Certainly, if the club is unwilling to make such a move this season, it is reasonable to wonder (as many have) whether Texas might instead dangle Profar as the centerpiece of a blockbuster deal to acquire a top-flight starter or outfielder.
The Rangers are looking for a “pitcher with options” in any trade for outfielder Julio Borbon, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. The Rangers are expected to trade the 27-year-old in the next few days, but one source said they are seeking a high return.
The Rangers had expressed confidence in being able to find a trade for Borbon that would bring back at least some value. However, as Evan Grant of the Dallas News notes, it's not clear how ready Borbon would be to help a team if he’s received in a trade or claimed. The outfielder has just one at-bat this season and has been at home since being designated for assignment.
Yesterday, we learned that the Rangers are "growing confident" that they'll be able to find a taker for Julio Borbon after designating him for assignment last week. We already know that the Twins are among the teams with interest in the 27-year-old, but another interested club has emerged. Meanwhile, the Rangers are in the early stages of plotting what would be a much bigger move. Here's the latest out of Arlington, courtesy of ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider sub. req'd).
- The Rangers are doing early reconnaissance and prep work on what it would take to land Giancarlo Stanton down the road, according to Olney. In a poll last week, roughly 70% of MLBTR readers said that the Marlins star would be traded either this season or following the 2013 season. Only 4% see Stanton signing a long-term deal to remain with Miami.
- The Orioles have interest in trading for Borbon, but the asking price is high. The out-of-options outfielder posted a .304/.349/.433 slash line for Triple-A Round Rock in 2012. Recently, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan suggested that the Rangers might get a reliever in return for Borbon.
Todd Helton says he won't play for anyone but the Rockies, reports MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom. It sounds like Helton is considering retirement: "I have other interests in my life besides baseball, even though I enjoy everything about it," he says. "... I do have other things in my life -- kids, family -- and a lot of things that the game has given me the chance to enjoy." Helton is in his 17th season playing for only the Rockies, and Bloom points out that Helton holds records in homers, doubles, hits, RBIs and runs scored for the young franchise. He is set to become a free agent after the season. Here are more notes from the two West divisions.
- The Rangers are "growing confident" that they'll be able to trade outfielder Julio Borbon, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports. The Rangers designated Borbon for assignment on Tuesday. Sullivan says that the Rangers aren't expecting much in return, which makes sense -- Borbon is 27 and has yet to establish himself in the majors. Texas might receive a reliever in return for Borbon, Sullivan suggests.
- For reliever Dane De La Rosa, pitching for the Angels is "a bit of a childhood dream," writes MLB.com's William Boor. De La Rosa grew up in Southern California, but spent the last three years with the Rays organization, mostly pitching thousands of miles to the east in Triple-A Durham and Double-A Montgomery before making his big-league debut in 2011. The Rays traded De La Rosa to the Angels for Steve Geltz in late March. "It's just cool being able to play on the West Coast, actually showing my family and friends that I do play baseball," says De La Rosa. "I don't think they believed me for the past few years, just because I've been so far away. It's just nice to be around family and I've had a lot of friends come out."